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Colleges & Universities Culture

Jerry Falwell Jr. Drops Defamation Lawsuit Against Liberty University

Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has dropped a lawsuit in which he claimed the school he once led defamed him after he resigned this summer in the wake of a sex scandal.

According to the News & Advance, Falwell’s lawyers informed the Lynchburg Circuit Court on Wednesday (Dec. 9) that he will not pursue his case against the school. The case revolved around allegations of a sexual relationship involving himself, his wife, and a former business associate that were repeated by school officials—allegations Falwell insists are false.

“I’ve decided to take a time out from my litigation against Liberty University, but I will continue to keep all options on the table for an appropriate resolution to the matter,” Falwell said in a statement to the News & Advance on Thursday.

In the original suit, filed in October, Falwell claimed the school’s board pressured him to resign without properly investigating the allegations made against him.

“By forcing Mr. Falwell’s resignation from Liberty immediately following (Giancarlo) Granda’s false and defamatory statements, Liberty sent the unmistakable message to the public that Granda’s false statements were, in fact, true,” the suit read.

The business associate, Giancarlo Granda, told reporters that he had a years-long affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki, and that Falwell Jr. also sometimes participated as a voyeur.

Falwell has denied that claim and alleged Granda tried to extort his family—an accusation Granda denied.

Jack Jenkins

JACK JENKINS is a national reporter for Religion News Service and a former Senior Religion Reporter for ThinkProgress. His work, which has also been published in The Atlantic and the Washington Post, and he is cited regularly in the New York Times, The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, MSNBC, CNN, and other top media outlets. A graduate of Presbyterian College, Jenkins earned his Master of Divinity at Harvard University.